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A Newport man, Richard Jenkins, has been the driving force behind a June 13 event that will honor Minnesota's Vietnam-era veterans. The event, held on the grounds of the Minnesota State Capitol, will feature a traveling replica (shown above) of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall from June 11 to 15. (Photo courtesy of Maureen Welsh)

A homecoming long overdue


Richard Jenkins spent just seven months in the jungles of Vietnam. He's spent 44 years coping with the aftermath.

The 66-year-old Newport man returned to Minnesota in 1966, physically hurt after meeting a jungle booby trap two months into his tour. And he came back emotionally wounded, too, the unseen after effects of a vicious war and an American homecoming that left him and other veterans feeling rejected and abandoned.

"A chunk," Jenkins says, "was ripped from our soul."

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